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Tax forfeit properties may be sold privately, by bids

By Anna Jauhola
Local interest in two tax forfeited homes in Hallock has led the county board to remove them from public auction to offer for private sale or sealed bids.
At the Hallock City Council meeting on Monday, April 3, the council discussed a dilapidated property at 120 4th St. SE. The Kittson County administrator contacted the city to entertain the possibility of contacting neighbors of the property about interest in purchasing it.
“There has been interest from a neighbor who wants to get it torn down,” said Aimee Sugden, city clerk/administrator. “There is also a vehicle in the garage they would donate to the fire department.”
The house at that location has sat empty for several years.
“We’re trying to alleviate someone bidding it up, someone who says they want to tear it down, and then letting it sit there,” said Mayor Dave Treumer. “Then the other person says they don’t want to pay that much and ends up not tearing it down. And they leave the property derelict again.”
Treumer added that the neighbors would like the house torn down and this may be a good option to get it done.
The council approved the county’s request to remove the property from the public auction and to send letters to the adjacent landowners for a private sale option. In the event the private sale does not happen, the property will again be listed for public auction.
During the Kittson County Commission meeting on Tuesday, April 4, the board pulled another property off the public auction list. A home at 521 5th St. SE has gone back to the state for tax forfeit, but is habitable and the county plans to receive sealed bids for the home.
County Administrator Brian Buhmann said at the meeting that Commissioner Loren Younggren has taken a few interested parties on a walk-through of the house already.
“By resolution, you can accept sealed bids on that property through the business day on June 2, and those bids will be opened at the June 6 board meeting,” Buhmann said. Then the top three bidders can participate in an in-person bid process at the courthouse on July 13.”
Commissioner Theresia Gillie said she’s concerned about a top bidder bowing out so a lower bidder can get the property for cheaper, which happened a couple years ago with a rural tax forfeit property.
“Oh, we’ve talked about this,” Younggren said, noting they are aware of that possibility.
Before the house at 521 5th St. SE can be sold, the county must also hold a public sale of abandoned personal items. The house contains several household items that will be put up for a public sale on Saturday, June 3. There is also a vehicle in the garage that will be sold by sealed bids, which will be opened at the Tuesday, June 6 meeting as well.
The board also approved a resolution for having the sale and sealed bids for the car.

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